Life revolves around the family in Saudi Arabia. Although Saudis spend time with friends and acquaintances whenever possible, it is the family that serves as the focal point of life.
In the old days, family outings included visits to the homes of relatives, and trips to the desert or the mountains where the family would enjoy time in the open. With the changes that have taken place in the Kingdom as a result of the development plans over the past three decades, Saudis now have a wider range of leisure activities than before.
A family in modern Saudi Arabia still spends a considerable part of its free time visiting relatives, but also has many other options. In the larger cities, visits to shopping malls and amusement centers are popular. The thousands of parks established in cities and towns across the Kingdom also draw families for the casual stroll or for picnics. The Corniche in Jeddah along the Red Sea and in Dammam along the Arabian Gulf — promenades extending many miles and interspersed with parks, fountains, lakes and kiosks — also are popular places for families.
Another popular leisure activity in Saudi Arabia is camping in the desert. Families pitch tents in the middle of the desert or along the coast, spending time with relatives and enjoying the beauty and seclusion of nature.
There are also now many vacation resorts, ranging from villas in the cool highlands of Asir Province to vacation compounds, such as Mersal Village near Jeddah, that rent villas to families and provide a range of entertainment facilities.